Day 19 – Saturday, November 8th


Photos in front of the Bradman Museum

We left the Eve’s house at 9:30 this morning, heading for Canberra. As we drove, it was amazing how much at home we both felt. I was wondering whether or not I would find things of interest to write about or whether it would just seem normal, but I did find a few new things…..

We had to go thru two tollways on the trip and only one of them allowed you to pay cash. For the other one, you had to either have a toll card (a electronic box that attaches to the inside of your windshield and receives a signal when you cross the toll area and then deducts the toll from your account) or you had to call a number within 48 hours and pay by credit card. These probably exist in the US, but I had never seen one before.

I was also interested in the speed limit signs on the main highways. They were florescent lights that could change the speed limit if needed. It looked to me like they were an excellent place for a speed trap. There are also speed and red light cameras everywhere. It will be a miracle if we get out of here without getting a ticket charged to our rental car. It was also interesting that the toll road had a bike lane as well. I don’t know if it cost to ride or not. Australia loves it’s cutsie sayings and the one on the roads said “Stop, Revive, Survive”, encouraging people to rest when they get tired. We had forgotten about the signs written on the road that say…..
LANE
ONE
FORM

Obviously you are supposed to read them from the bottom first, but it is not something that either of us can do so we end up yelling “Lane one form…..Lane one form!!!”.

As we were almost out of Sydney, we saw a bunch of parachutes and a sign for the “Sydney Sky Divers Club”. These guys were doing some stunt diving and were going really fast as they went out of sight behind trees. I cant imagine how hard they hit the ground.

About an hour into the trip, we stopped in the town of Mittagong so that I could shop at Victoria Station, a huge needlework shop that I used to buy cross-stitch kits from. Since I am no longer doing cross-stitch I didn’t spend a lot of time there, but did buy some gorgeous wools that will look good for needle felting.

Our next stop was a mere 5 miles down the road at the town of Bowral. It is the home of a famous Cricket player name (Sir) Donald Bradman and Michael wanted to stop at the museum and have a look around. We first went into the “Stumps Tea Room” where we had a wonderful Devonshire Tea made up of scones, jam and thickened cream. We then walked through the museum and especially enjoyed watching newsreels from the 1930’s and 40’s when Bradman played Cricket. It was fun seeing information about cricket in the 1980’s which was when we were watching and enjoying. One of the most striking exhibits was a replica of a locker room with a wax figure dressed as a cricketer getting ready to go to out to bat. It really showed the mental anguish and pressure that they feel. We then walked around the cricket oval where a match was getting ready to be played…..probably 18-20 year olds and Michael had his photo taken in front of Bradman’s house.

This reminds me of one thing…..people play sport over here long into their 20’s and 30’s where Americans tend not to play after their college years. Several of our friends kids are playing cricket, rugby or soccer, even into their 30’s.

Yesterday I was bemoaning the fact that I had packed too many clothes and didn’t need all of the long sleeve and long pants that I had brought. However, as the day went on, I became glad of the ability to change into something warmer. It was quite cold, with highs in the 60’s and with a strong wind blowing.

We enjoyed seeing all of the foliage along the way. The Eucalyptus trees are a grey-green and look like stalks of broccoli. Many of their trunks are a stark white. We saw some yellow Wattle (Acacia) bushes along the way, although it is at the end of the blooming season. We also saw lots of bright red Bottlebrush bushes. As far as birds go, we have seen tons of Sulphur Crested Cockatoos and Crimson Rosellas, but not many Galahs….hopefully there will be more in Canberra. The only Roos that we have seen have been in the ditches!!

We passed an area where there were several wineries and olive groves….not something that I expected to see. We drove thru Lake George…..a HUGE lake that hasn’t had any water in it for many, many years. It currently is home to cattle herds and sheep flocks. We enjoyed seeing some of the town names, including Gundagai, Curawang, Weereewea, and Gundaroo.

We arrived in Canberra about 3:00 pm and found our way to our host’s house, Brad and Jenny Armstrong. Fortunately, the Eve’s had loaned us a GPS so that has made traveling MUCH easier. Brad was out of town until Sunday, so Jenny took us out for a drive around Canberra. There were some huge bush fires here in 2003 and this area of town lost about 450 homes. Also lost was Mount Stromlo which housed a wonderful astronomy tower. It is sad to see this area with all of the burned trees, but it is also encouraging to see how the new growth is returning.

We drove past our old house and both felt that the Suburb looked old and dusty. However, it was fun to see the house again and to drive along some of the same roads.

We had dinner at a wonderful Indian restaurant and then returned to Jenny’s house for dessert ….waffles with ice cream and a rocky road sauce containing chocolate, cream, marshmallows and nuts!!!

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